Community engagement is the process of getting oneself really involved in a certain sector of society. It involves understanding the community you are working with, understanding what they are about, what needs to be researched and what can be changed.
Before beginning this project, community engagement was not something on my radar. I had an idea of what it could be when we entered the class given its name. However, I certainly knew it is obviously about engaging a community.
All of the interaction assignments were really interesting. My favorite was definitely the one about theSkimm, which I still receive the newsletters to. They really made me think about how news outlets are trying to engage their communities. In some projects, they attempted to reach out through social media, such as The Guardian and its discussion on WhatsApp during the Republican Presidential Debate.
The wide range of different ideas is amazing. I would have never guessed that companies like the New York Times and other outlets had such active ways to engage their communities. The best part is that there are so many different ways to get involved in community engagement, especially as a journalist. There are countless methods to get communities involved, and the most interesting aspect is that media outlets are using social media to get it done.
Since we attend Stony Brook University, an institution where one-third of its population is made up of international students, we all know international students, or at least should. For me personally, I don’t know too many international students besides the Chinese and Israeli ones. However, this gave us a new opportunity to get out of our comfort zones and get to know how they feel about our current political climate, which is quite controversial.
My role was to make the survey and send it out to the rest of our group members. When making the survey, I contemplated between Google Surveys and Survey Monkey. In the end, I ended up choosing Google Surveys because of its analytics section, which ended up being useful when we began to evaluate our results.
My memory is pretty bad, so I can’t remember week-by-week what exactly I did. However, I started by speaking to international students off the record about President Trump. Then, I began to go more in-depth with a student from Spain, who sat down with me for two hours talking about the president and the lack of transparency between him and the media. After making the survey and distributing it, I then copy-edited our story, fact-checked and made sure it was ready for publishing.
Timeliness was definitely an issue. I feel like I personally had to rush some of the discussions I had, yet due to a lack of time management, I was not able to interview people like I wanted.
In a newsroom environment, the skills of engaging with peers and working together are definitely necessary. We worked really well with each other while completing this project, and the digital media aspect of it was certainly useful.
Thanks to Brittany Tesoriero for helping me edit this piece.